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Are you great at taking care of others but not yourself?

mk_treesI’m headed out today from Nashville to Washington, DC for the fourth night of our Daily Love Enter The Heart Tour. There’s a couple spaces left – RSVP to join us in DC here.

We have more dates coming up in Philly, Boston, NYC, Miami, Asheville, San Fran, Vegas, Vancouver, San Diego and Honolulu. Check ‘em out here.

There’s a trend I’ve been seeing, at first in my own life and now more and more in the lives of others that I meet.

It goes a little something like this…

You want to help others. Helping others really makes you happy. You would do almost anything to help other people, to take care of them, Love them and nurture them.

But one thing is wrong – you don’t take care of yourself.

So, you are full of resentment, anger and sadness. You feel depleted. What was once the joy of giving and being of service has turned into being worn out and not getting your needs met.

But – you’re scared to receive, you’re scared to be vulnerable and admit you need help and a part of you doesn’t think you’re worth the trouble anyway.

Sound familiar?

Well, it does to me too because that’s how I’ve felt about myself for a long time. Until things got so painful that I had to change.

As I’ve been touring the beautiful U.S., I’ve come into contact with so many people (mostly women) who have been sharing their own version of this story with me.

It’s the story of the healer who can’t seem to help him or herself.

Something is off with this story. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. It’s self-ish.

You have to have some level of self-focus and self-care in order to be able to have enough to give away.

In these past few nights on tour, I’ve really done my best to inspire folks to realize that it’s totally OKAY and actually necessary to take care of yourself.

We want you around to live your purpose and give your gift for a long time. If you are so worn out that you end up resenting those you are helping, what good is that to you or them?

It can be scary to dive into self-care. It can be scary to take time for you. But it might be just what you need.

Maybe clear out that packed schedule for some down time. Maybe take yourself out for some yoga, a massage or just take time for some good old fashioned silence. Maybe say no to all those people asking for your help — not because you’re selfish, but because dammit you need some rest!

The world won’t come to an end if you say no to others so that you can take care of yourself. Though you sometimes might think otherwise, others can survive without you for a little while while you take care of yourself.

Also, consider this – is it possible that you’ve been hiding from living your own dreams by putting all your focus on someone else and not on you?

Hmmm… what a convenient distraction from your dreams!

I’m not suggesting that you abandon those whom you Love, but what I am asking is have you abandoned yourself in the process of taking care of others? If so, what might getting yourself back look like?

As always, the action happens in the comments below, leave a comment and join the conversation! The TDL Community thrives in the comments and it’s a GREAT place to get support!

Love from Washington, DC,

Mastin

P.S. If you are ready to get out of your head and into your heart so you can start living the life of your dreams, join Mastin on The Daily Love Enter The Heart Tour! We are coming to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Boston, NYC, Miami, Asheville, San Fran, Las Vegas, Vancouver, San Diego and Honolulu! RSVP here.

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Mastin Kipp is the founder and CEO of The Daily Love. Follow him on Twitter here.

Take what resonates with you in this blog and leave the rest.

  • NancyJo

    This is from today’s offering in Melody Beattie’s book The Language of Letting Go:
    “We do not have to wait for others to come to our aid. We are not victims. We are not helpless…Teachers may come our way, but they will not rescue. They will teach. People who
    care will come, but they will not rescue. They will care…We are our own rescuers.
    Our relationships will improve dramatically when we stop rescuing others and stop
    expecting them to rescue us.” Apropriate for your offering today, don’t you think? Hugs

    • Worried about conflict

      very well said, Nancyjo. thanks so much.. I too, can’t stand watching someone in pain, and I like to try to make them feel better.. maybe now that I think about it, it is a apart of ego, thinking I can, and I hate seeing people sad.. I think that goes back to my mom, who I thought wouldn’t love me, if she was mad at me, but that’s another story. The point is you’re right.. we have to rescue ourselves.. I can’t save other people. I can care about other people, and make them feel loved but they have to reach for the life preserver. thank you!

    • Samantha

      AAAha moment, yes. Thanks Nancy.

    • The Daily Love

      We absolutely love this. Especially “We are our own rescuers.” Thank you for sharing, NancyJo! -Team TDL

  • Hunter Yoga

    When make self-care a priority, it benefits every area if your life. When you take care of yourself mindfully, you become more relaxed, grounded and present with your family. The act of self-care really become a gift for everyone you love – giving them your most-peaceful, fulfilled you – who you truly are under all the layers of stress and frustration. I have absolutely lived this in my own life – in fact, I would say that it saved my life at a certain point, putting me on the right path. Changing your life has everything to do with how you take care of yourself daily.

    • The Daily Love

      This is spot-on :) Thank you for sharing! -Team TDL

  • Dee

    It’s called Codependency Mastin and it’s a serious disease and a huge issue affecting lots of people who are on the spiritual path and find it wrong to say “No” to people because of our understanding of what ‘Being of Service’ actually means. Be great if you could speak on the subject a little more or maybe you could gather a few speakers/thought leaders, to speak on the subject. Codependency is debilitating!

    • The Daily Love

      Thank you so much for the suggestion, Dee! We agree that codependency can definitely be a huge problem. -Team TDL

  • Angela

    Awesome topic on an area where I, among many, struggle. I love the posts so far. This is not a quick fix but I am learning and trying. Your blogs are always helpful and inspiring. They help me find and stay on MY path.

    • The Daily Love

      We’re sure you’re doing your best, Angela :) We’re glad the blogs are able to help. Hang in there! -Team TDL

  • finder

    Here is what I would like to know in my heart. True giving could never deplete, as there can be no loss in the extension of love. To give is to receive in truth. Our capacity to love, which is really all anyone needs, is endless. Only when I see myself as lacking, can I see others as needy. If I experience exhaustion, victim thinking, resentment, I am likely not being true to myself or others. I am doing things…saying yes, when I really want to say no – conflict and resentment may occur even before the “giving” event. Much of the giving may only be a mask for getting…getting praise or even sympathy….needing others to think of us as caring, compassionate, helpful, or even put upon… so that they will love us….feel sorry for us…so we can tell ourselves we are good enough. Because our crazy ego mind is always trying to convince us people have to be a certain way to be loveable – and of course, I am that way – see all I do for others at the expense of my self?. Want peace? To Thine own self be true. Personal integrity, and honesty without malice, are loving – guilt be gone

    • Samantha

      Finder, I actually love this post. Powerful thoughts. I am actually able to find the balance between true giving and ego giving. What you said about convincing people that I have to be a certain way to to be lovable is true – I was there. It took me some time before I could say no to the people I loved because I was worn out. After I said no, I would feel guilty and I actually would experience pains in my chest as well as, my breathing pattern would change. I am now aware of these feelings as I embark on my journey of self discovery and self awareness. And even as Mastin said above I recognize that people will survive without me.
      Thanks Mastin and Finder

    • ellie

      Wow. Such wisdom. I’m cutting and pasting your post.

      Thanks!

    • The Daily Love

      Wow…this is absolutely fantastic. Honestly, incredible. Thank you so SO much for sharing this. We’re sure you’re aware of this, but you are very wise. -Team TDL

  • cynthia

    Even mental health professionals are trained to put self care at the top of their list.

  • Martina

    I’ve been working for 18+ years as a Massage Therapist and here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
    -women are often socialized to be nurturers, so we can feel it’s our duty to do so and we feel guilt, shame etc when we don’t do this. I would say toss that thinking in the trash!
    -you cannot be present for anyone else in their healing process if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to be totally together and perfect. People often think massage therapists sit around all day eating granola bars and drinking herbal tea! You do need to be doing something though! Working on your own healing. I know too many in my profession who are popping painkillers every day because they aren’t taking care of themselves.
    -it’s important to set boundaries and to say no at times
    -the best massage work I’ve done is when there is an ‘exchange’ happening between client and therapist. No one has the right to suck your energy, no matter how much they pay you, but they do try.

    • The Daily Love

      This is such interesting insight, Martina! Thank you so much for sharing! -Team TDL

  • anon.

    Joining Al-Anon has helped me stopped doing this! Once I changed, every relationship in my life blew up. For the best. With my family, with my friends, with my boyfriend. The minute I stopped “rescuing” or “caretaking” everyone else, my life began. The needy people who are capable of sucking me dry are automatic standouts to me now and I can put up better boundaries rather than get sucked in. It’s all about me now. No shame, no guilt, no selfishness or negativity about that. Those who are healthy get it and respect me more. Those who aren’t are still trying to change me, fix me, rescue me, give me unsolicited advice, wonder why I am saying “no” and doing things or being ways they don’t like, can’t dump on me anymore… All dynamics change. It’s awesome. I won’t dump the friends, family, or boyfriend. But I am making it clear that my relationships with everyone will be different from this point on. I’m weeding out the suckers… It’s awkward and uncomfortable. It’s scary. Some days I am filled with anxiety and unsure how I feel. But this is a GOOD thing.

    • ellie

      That’s so awesome. Your perspective seems very well balanced. Keep loving and taking care of yourself and the love for others will flow as well!

    • Tara

      I love this! It reminded me that I need to start going back to Al-Anon. I just drove home late last night after being with my alcoholic father for two days, he was hospitalized for some different issues, then released. I brought him home, cleaned his house, got him comfortable. He started drinking right away. He wanted me to stay longer with him, but I was getting sick myself, bad cough, I don’t have my voice today. I knew that there was little more I could do for him at this time. I knew that I was getting sicker. I found myself over-explaining to everyone over the phone why I was going back home so soon. I want everyone to see me as a “good daughter,” one who is very caring. My father tends to “suck” from anyone who is willing and to believe that he is a victim. Instead of being mad at him, or stressed about his condition, I am trying to see him as a teacher, and I am learning to be responsible for my own peace, learning to set boundaries and not feel guilty about what I am not able to do. It’s not easy. I felt peaceful as I drove away last night, but as the hours of the drive set in, some guilt and uncertainty came up. This post and the comments were perfect thoughts for me to begin the day with.

    • The Daily Love

      We are so happy to hear this! Good for you! Stay strong, we’re sure this can be extremely difficult. -Team TDL

  • David H. Breaux

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you all for sharing your experience and wisdom. Being well-known in the city where I live for being a compassionate ear, I’m often approached by those who want to be heard at times when I need to continue the task at hand. As the amount of people who knew what I do grew, I realized I needed to say ‘no’ more often; when I’m food shopping I am food shopping and listening to your relationship issues will need to wait; when I’m walking home, I am walking home and I will listen to your drunken spiel when you are sober; when I’m sitting and eating at a restaurant, I am eating and will listen to your thoughts another time. It definitely encourages respect, love, and awareness with those who understand. I do take time at the beginning and end of the day to just sit in gratitude and always subtly remain grounded in the emptiness, stillness, and silence deep within.

    Again, I offer gratitude to you all.

    With compassion,
    David H. Breaux

    • The Daily Love

      Great point, David. Thank you for sharing! -Team TDL

  • Lou

    As someone in the healing profession this really resonated with me. It helped me realize that i am burnt out and need to start taking care of me or i will once again be of no use to others. Self care is something i struggle with because i give so much to my work i often dont have the energy to take care of me too. But i now realize i have things backwards i need to take care of me first in order to take care of others. So thank you for an aha moment.

  • Jodi

    Thank you so much for this! It so clearly articulates what I have been coming to terms with myself. As a natural ‘giver’, highly rewarded for it and gravitated to a profession built on giving, I wound up burned out and totally soul depleted. I have been ‘unlearning’ alot of belies around giving and receiving and it feels like a revolution in my life. I am now embarking on a new career to teach development and humanitarian workers, exactly this – live well to serve well. For one. For all.
    Imagine a world where we give from a totally filled up place in ourselves???
    It would be a whole new world.

    Namaste, Jodi
    http://www.thehumanitycollective.com/bali.html